Friday, February 5, 2010

Sex Education Abstinence Program

I read something encouraging in the news the other day. A study published in the February issue of the Archives of Pediatric and Adolescent Medicine reported the success of an experimental school based sexual abstinence program in Philadelphia.For reasons that have been unclear to me those who have been involved in the sex education field have been reluctant to endorse abstinence from sex as the best method of preventing unwanted teen pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases. I understand and agree with the need to educate young people on how to avoid these complications by condom use if they engage in sex but I have never understood the black and white thinking that has resulted in hostility to the idea of abstinence.

The study reports on 662 inner city 6th and 7th graders who were assigned to one of four groups. Some were assigned to the experimental eight week hour long experimental classes only, some to traditional safe sex classes, some a combination of both and a fourth or control group taught general non sexual healthy behaviors. The program was designed not to tell the children not to have sex but to help them look at the pros and cons themselves to make their own thoughtful decisions. At the end of two years one-third of the abstinence only program participants said they had engaged in sexual activity since the classes ended vs approximately 50% in the other 3 groups.

To me this is very encouraging. Our young people need to know that everyone is not "doing it" and should receive support and encouragement to just say no. Adolescent girls especially need support in not giving in to excessive pressure as many engage in otherwise unwanted sexual behavior because they think they have to to keep their boy friends or they don't have the assertiveness and communication skills to stand up for themselves. I hope more research will be done in this area.

Thought for the day

"Destroy a single being's joy and you will work the ruin of yourself".

The Way of the Bodhisattva

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